just dig his heels in"
Trying to reconnect
with his son after the death of his wife, Ray Keene (Cusack) takes Chris
(Anderson) hiking. As they head into the mountains, the pair come across
two men struggling to stay afloat in the river, one is a police officer
who has been shot and the other is his prisoner. When the officer passes
away, Ray takes it one himself to take the prisoner in but professional
hitman Frank Cordell (Freeman) has a contract to honour and the rest of
his team are looking for him.
The coming together
of John Cusack and Morgan Freeman in a thriller is enough to cause anyone
to take notice but can 'The Contract' get your pulse racing?
Two of Hollywood's
best actors coming together for a thriller should have any movie fan salivating
at the mouth in anticipation of edge of your seat, twisting and turning
action. 'The Contract' does enough to draw you in but unfortunately offers
nothing new to an already crowded genre.
The premise of a
good man doing what is right, even it means risking the life of his son
and innocent people around is one that has been used by filmmakers many
times before. For this story, John Cusack's Ray Keene is an ex-police officer
turned high school coach who is trying to reconnect with his son after the
tragic death of his wife. While on a hike, they come across a fatally injured
federal agent and his prisoner and Ray takes it on himself to take the prisoner
in. The problem is that prisoner Frank Cordell, played by Morgan Freeman,
is the head of an assassination team and the rest of his men are coming
to free him, killing anyone who gets in their way.
You would think
that this premise would set up a confrontation of two Hollywood big hitters
but director Bruce Beresford, Oscar nominated for 'Tender Mercies', and
his creative team never really push the story and the actors as far as they
could go. Instead we have a slightly predictable plot that sees Morgan Freeman
as the honourable assassin and John Cusack becomes a one-man army against
trained killers. The filmmakers also try to bring in a little bit of intrigue
with Alice Krige's character pulling some strings but the film never really
captivates you as much as it should do.
from the cast are fine. John Cusack and Morgan Freeman are always extremely
watchable and are consummate professionals but it is the script and the
real lack of pace or menace that lets them down. Alice Krige is fine as
the high-ranking agent Miles, who is pulling the strings. Jamie Anderson
is also fine as Cusack's son Chris but the character is a little too winy
to really be that likable. There are also decent performances from Megan
Dodds and Bill Smitrovich.
is a missed opportunity and a movie that is, at best, very average. With
Morgan Freeman and John Cusack involved you would expect a lot more but
instead you are offered an unoriginal and quite mundane thriller that never
really gets the heart racing.
PICTURE & SOUND
Presented in Widescreen 1.85:1
Anamorphic with a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, the transfer is good.
Inside the Contract (21.34
Director Bruce Beresford, producers Les Weldon and Danny Lerner, director
of photography Dante Spinotti, executive producer David Varod and stars
John Cusack, Morgan Freeman and Jamie Anderson take you behind the scenes
of 'The Contract'. The filmmakers and the stars talk about the story,
taking a Hitchcock-like approach, casting and what it is like working
with the director. This is a run of the mill featurette that is just a
lot of patting on the back on not much information about the movie and
how it was made.
Previews of 'The Lives of Others', 'Paradise Lost', 'Edison' and '11:14'
With just an average, run of
the mill featurette the DVD treatment for 'The Contract' is disappointing.
Fans will not get much from this DVD release.
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